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Titanic changes history in major ways

Although everyone thinks that Kate Winslet and Leonard DiCaprio were standing there on the foredeck of the White Star Line's pride, HMS Titanic, sister to Gigantic, which was also to meet a similar fate, it is quite unlikely that the crew of the White Star liner would have:

Unlikely happening

  • Allowed the happy couple to stand on the foredeck with the wind swinging in their hair. First class and third/fourth/steering class passengers just didn't mix that way on ships of he White Star in those days
  • Allowed Billy Zane's detective/handler (the guy with the nickel-plated .45) to retain control of the pistol as the ship's company was where firearms were stored
  • Given a steerage passenger the kind of access that DiCaprio had

More likely happenings

It would have been more likely that the First Class passengers would have remained in their world apart from the Second Class and so on so that the dance scenes that showed DiCaprio and Winslet dancing to a reel would have been unlikely.

It is true that the below-decks stairways and elevators would ahve been blocked off as they were with locks and thatk, if there were an emergency, that the ship's officers would have been armed.

It is also more than likely that the some men would have made the jump to preserve their own precious necks when the lifeboats were swung out.

Untested design

Called by the popular press unsinkable due to here closeable almost-water tight hatches, the untested design should have been more thoroughly tested rather than rolled out quickly so that White Star could preseve its record as the "greyahound of the seas."

The untested design showed a major flaw and that was that the supposedly watertight bulkheads were nothing of the sort. They did not seal completely to the ceilings of each deck where they were deployed and, even as they valiantly tried to keep the water out, they became the source of Titanic's demise as water spilled over them, flooding each compartment so that the ship went down by the had in about three hours.

Major radio change

At the time, David Sarnoff, a ham radio operator and radio listener, heard the exchanges going on between the rapidly developing tragedy. He would have heard, about mid-way through the spark gap radio conversation calls a change from -.-. --.- .-- (CQG) in Morse Code to the more conventional ---...--- (SOS).

The shame of it was that just about a dozen miles away, the United States Ship had hove to for the night as they, like the Titanic, knew there were icebergs in the area and the captain didn't want to take any chances.

Further, though the first officer of the ship -- according to legend -- flipped on the sparkgap transmitter and receiving station on the U.S. ship and must have heard nothing as the operators changed because both radio operators (at least one of whom had survived the sinking, passing away in 1956) spent the three hours the Titantic took to go down to send until there was no more electricity.

The change from CQG to SOS was major, as was one other major change.

Cold water doomed victims

No matter how warmly they dressed, those who were not in any of the nearly empty lifeboats (many men fought their way onto lifeboats and then kicked other off or so the legends say), were doomed for the water temperature was about 38 degrees.

At that temperature, unless you are wearing one of today's survival suits, you chances or survival beyond 15 minutes are slim at best. Even the fastest ships racing to Titanic's frantic cries for assistance were answered by ships that showed up hours late when it became a recovery operation.

Official inquiry

Yes, there was an official inquiry that cleared the captain and first officer of the other ship, as well as the mates who saw the Titanic raising flares for help as they thought that there was some posh first class celebration, but it was not. They were firing for their lives and even tried keying the ships slights.

The other captains were lauded for their efforts and Capt. Smith, Titanic's one and only skipper -- he had planned on retiring after the trip to complete a long, successful shipboard career with White Star -- was lauded as was the surviving senior officer 1st Mate Edward Lightoler.

Iceberg patrol

The loss of more than 1,500 to freezing water resulted in some changes to life-saving procedures.

  • A regular iceberg reporting service and patrol was established and heeded
  • Ships regularly made crossings outside of shipping lanes looking for rogue ice
  • Ships were required to regularly communicate any ice sightings to land stations and there was no speeding up or otherwise. Courses had to change.
  • A proper ratio of lifeboats to crew and passengers was finally established.

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